Enterprise Java

Rest client calls with Spring Cloud

There are a few interesting ways to make REST client calls with the Spring-Cloud project. Spring-Cloud rest support builds on top of the core Netflix OSS libraries, but abstracts them and in the process simplifies using the libraries.


As a first step let us consider the traditional way to make Rest calls through Spring based applications, using RestTemplate:

public class RestTemplateIntegrationTest {

    private RestTemplate restTemplate;

    public void testCallPongService() {
        ResponseEntity<MessageAcknowledgement> ack =
                        new HttpEntity<>(new Message("test", "hello")),
        assertThat(ack.getBody().getPayload(), equalTo("Pong From Configuration Server"));

In this specific instance, the host part of the url is expected to be completely known to the client, RestTemplate will take care of marshalling the Java object to the appropriate media type, making the REST call, and unmarshalling the response back to a Java Object.

RestTemplate with Ribbon and Eureka

Netflix Ribbon provides a library for making REST based calls, whereas with RestTemplate the host is expected to be completely known to the client, with Ribbon the host is typically resolved through the Centralized Netflix Eureka server and Ribbon takes care of load-balancing the calls if multiple hosts are found for a service. If Spring-cloud libraries and Ribbon related libraries are present in the classpath, then Spring-Cloud enhances RestTemplate to be based on Ribbon instead with no additional configuration required, with Spring-Cloud in place the call would exactly like before, with a few twists.

ResponseEntity<MessageAcknowledgement> ack =
                new HttpEntity<>(new Message("test", "hello")),

The twist is that the hostname which in this instance is “sample-pong” is significant, it is not the real host name – instead, an attempt is made to find the list of servers with this name as the registration name in Eureka and the resulting host/port is used for making the request.

If customizations are required a named client can be provided with Ribbon specific properties specified for the named client, along these lines:

ResponseEntity<MessageAcknowledgement> ack =
                new HttpEntity<>(new Message("test", "hello")),

The named client above is “samplepong” and the ribbon specific properties for this client is along these lines:

    DeploymentContextBasedVipAddresses: sample-pong
    NIWSServerListClassName: com.netflix.niws.loadbalancer.DiscoveryEnabledNIWSServerList
    ReadTimeout: 5000
    MaxAutoRetries: 2
  • If you are interested in more low level configurations for Ribbon, refer here

Ribbon is a fairly complicated low-level way of making a REST call, RestTemplate abstracts the Ribbon implementation and makes it look easy from a clients perspective.

Netflix Feign

Netflix Feign is another simplified way to make calls to REST based services, all it requires is an interface with relevant annotations which is best demonstrated with an example:

import org.bk.consumer.domain.Message;
import org.bk.consumer.domain.MessageAcknowledgement;
import org.springframework.cloud.netflix.feign.FeignClient;
import org.springframework.http.MediaType;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestBody;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMethod;

public interface PongClient {

    @RequestMapping(method = RequestMethod.POST, value = "/message",
            produces = MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON_VALUE, consumes = MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON_VALUE)
    MessageAcknowledgement sendMessage(@RequestBody Message message);

The annotations are Spring specific though, Spring-Cloud facilitates this by adding in encoders and decoders which support Spring MVC annotations.

@FeignClient annotation on the interface identifies this a FeignClient code. @EnableFeignClients is required in a Spring Configuration to load up all such FeignClient’s.

public class PingApplication {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        SpringApplication.run(PingApplication.class, args);


Reference: Rest client calls with Spring Cloud from our JCG partner Biju Kunjummen at the all and sundry blog.
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